Can Degus and Gerbils Live Together? A Comprehensive Guide

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Degus and gerbils are popular pets known for their playful and active nature. While they may seem similar, the two species have some significant differences.

One of the questions that pet owners often ask is whether they can keep degus and gerbils together in the same cage.

The short answer is no. Degus and gerbils have different social structures and communication methods, which can lead to conflicts and stress if they are housed together.

Degus are social animals that live in large groups in the wild, while gerbils are more solitary and territorial. Mixing these two species can result in aggression, fighting, and even injury or death.

Pet owners need to understand the needs and behaviors of each species before deciding to keep them together.

While it may seem convenient to save space and money, mixing degus and gerbils can cause more harm than good. Pet owners should always prioritize the health and well-being of their animals and provide them with appropriate housing and companionship.

 

Housing Requirements

 

When considering housing requirements for degus and gerbils, it’s important to note that these species have different needs.

 

Degus’ Housing Needs

 

Degus are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups of the same sex. They need a large cage at least 24 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 24 inches tall.

The cage should have multiple levels and be equipped with ramps, tunnels, and hiding places. Degus are active and need plenty of space to run, jump, and climb.

The cage should be made of metal wire with spaces no larger than 1 inch to prevent escape. It’s important to avoid plastic cages as degus can easily chew through them.

The cage should also have a solid bottom to prevent injuries to their feet.

Degus are sensitive to heat and should be kept in a cool room away from direct sunlight. They also need a dust bath to keep their fur clean and healthy.

The dust bath should be provided in a separate container as it can make their bedding wet and dirty.

 

Gerbils’ Housing Needs

 

Gerbils are also social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups of the same sex. They need a cage of at least 10 gallons, but larger is always better.

The cage should have multiple levels and be equipped with tunnels, hiding places, and toys. Gerbils are active and need plenty of space to run, jump, and burrow.

The cage should be made of metal wire with spaces no larger than 1/2 inch to prevent escape.

Avoiding plastic cages is important as gerbils can easily chew through them. The cage should also have a solid bottom to prevent injuries to their feet.

Gerbils are sensitive to heat and should be kept in a cool room away from direct sunlight. They also need a sand bath to keep their fur clean and healthy.

The sand bath should be provided in a separate container as it can make their bedding wet and dirty.

Overall, it’s essential to provide degus and gerbils with a safe and comfortable living environment that meets their needs.

 

Dietary Needs

Degus’ Diet

 

Degus are herbivores and require a diet high in fiber and low in fat. Their diet should consist of hay, fresh vegetables, and fruits.

Timothy hay is a good source of fiber for degus. They should also be given fresh vegetables such as kale, spinach, and carrots. Fruits should be given in moderation due to their high sugar content.

Degus also requires a source of protein, which can be provided through small amounts of cooked chicken or boiled egg.

 

Gerbils’ Diet

 

Gerbils are omnivores and require a diet of plant and animal matter. Their diet should consist of high-quality commercial gerbil food containing grains, seeds, and pellets.

They should also be given fresh vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and spinach. Fruits should be given in moderation due to their high sugar content. Gerbils also require a source of protein, which can be provided through small amounts of cooked chicken or boiled egg.

It is important to note that degus and gerbils have different dietary needs and should not be fed the same diet.

Mixing their diets can lead to health problems for both animals. Providing each animal with its food dish is recommended to ensure they receive the appropriate diet.

 

Behavioral Differences

Degus’ Behavior

 

Degus are social animals and are known for their playful and active nature. They are highly social creatures and enjoy living in groups.

In the wild, degus live in large colonies containing up to 100 individuals. Degus are very vocal and communicate with each other using a range of sounds, including barks, chirps, and whistles.

They are also known for their love of digging and often create complex burrow systems in the wild.

Degus requires a lot of attention and social interaction when kept as pets. They are active during the day and need plenty of space to run around and play.

They can become bored and stressed if kept in a small, cramped environment. Degus are also very territorial and can become aggressive towards other animals if they feel threatened.

 

Gerbils’ Behavior

 

Gerbils are also social animals and enjoy living in groups. They are known for their curious and active nature and are often seen running around and exploring their environment.

Gerbils communicate using a range of sounds, including chirps, squeaks, and thumps. They are also very agile and can jump up to 12 inches in the air.

Gerbils require plenty of space to run around and play when kept as pets. They are active during the day and need many toys and activities to keep them entertained.

Gerbils are also very territorial and can become aggressive towards other animals if threatened.

While degus and gerbils are social animals, they have different behavioral needs and requirements. Providing them with plenty of space and social interaction is essential to ensure they are happy and healthy.

 

Health Risks and Considerations

Degus’ Health Risks

 

Degus are prone to dental problems, obesity, and diabetes. They require a diet high in fiber and low in sugar to maintain their health.

If they do not receive proper nutrition, they can develop dental problems that can cause pain and difficulty eating.

Additionally, degus are susceptible to obesity and diabetes, leading to various health problems, including heart, liver, and kidney disease.

When considering housing degus and gerbils together, it is essential to note that degus may carry bacteria that can harm gerbils.

This can lead to respiratory infections and other health issues. Additionally, degus are larger and more aggressive than gerbils, which can lead to injuries or stress for the gerbils.

 

Gerbil’s Health Risks

 

Gerbils are generally healthy animals but susceptible to respiratory infections and dental problems.

They require a diet high in protein and fat to maintain their health. If they do not receive proper nutrition, they can develop dental problems that can cause pain and difficulty eating.

Additionally, gerbils are prone to respiratory infections, which can be caused by poor air quality or exposure to other animals that carry respiratory bacteria.

When considering housing gerbils and degus together, it is essential to note that gerbils may be at risk of injury or stress due to the larger and more aggressive nature of degus.

Additionally, gerbils may be at risk of contracting respiratory infections from degus, which can be fatal if left untreated.

In summary, while it may be possible to house degus and gerbils together, it is essential to consider the health risks and potential stress or injury to both animals.

It is recommended to house these animals separately to ensure their health and well-being.

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, it is not recommended to house degus and gerbils together. While they may seem similar in size and behavior, they have different social structures and requirements that can lead to conflicts and stress.

Gerbils are social animals that live in groups, while degus are more territorial and prefer to live in pairs or small family groups. Gerbils also have a different diet and require different levels of exercise and stimulation than degus.

Degus and gerbils may fight over food, water, and toys when housed together. They may also transmit diseases to each other, as they have different immune systems and can carry different pathogens.

Therefore, providing separate living spaces for degus and gerbils is best to ensure their health and well-being. If you are considering keeping both species, it is essential to research their individual needs and provide appropriate care for each.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How long can degus and gerbils coexist?

 

Degus and gerbils can coexist for a short period, but keeping them together for a long time is not recommended. Monitoring and separating their behavior is essential if any aggression is observed.

 

What animals can live with gerbils?

 

Gerbils are social animals and can live with others of the same species. However, they should not be housed with other rodent species such as degus, hamsters, or mice.

 

Should degus be kept in pairs?

 

Degus are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups. Keeping a single degu can lead to loneliness and depression.

 

Are degus and gerbils compatible?

 

Degus and gerbils have different social structures and communication methods, which can lead to conflicts if they are housed together. It is not recommended to keep them together.

 

Can degus and gerbils coexist in captivity?

 

Degus and gerbils should not be housed together in captivity. It is essential to provide each species with its own living space to prevent potential conflicts.

 

Is it better to have one or two gerbils?

 

Gerbils are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups. Keeping a single gerbil can lead to loneliness and depression.

About the author

Latest Posts

  • Do Alligators Eat Capybaras? Exploring Predatory Behaviors in Wetland Ecosystems

    Do Alligators Eat Capybaras? Exploring Predatory Behaviors in Wetland Ecosystems

    Alligators are opportunistic predators known for their diverse diet, primarily consisting of fish, turtles, birds, and various mammals. Their feeding habits are influenced by the availability of prey and the size of the alligator itself. Whether alligators eat capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, is relevant, considering that both species coexist in overlapping habitats, particularly in…

    Read more

  • How Do Capybaras Drink Water: Unveiling Their Hydration Habits

    How Do Capybaras Drink Water: Unveiling Their Hydration Habits

    Given their proximity to water sources like rivers, lakes, and swamps, capybaras have ample opportunity to drink whenever needed. They typically lower their muzzles into the water, using their large and well-muscled lips to suck water into their mouths. This efficient drinking method minimizes exposure to potential predators and allows them to remain alert while…

    Read more

  • Can Capybaras Get Angry: Understanding Rodent Aggression Dynamics

    Can Capybaras Get Angry: Understanding Rodent Aggression Dynamics

    Capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, are often noted for their calm and sociable nature. They are native to South America and are commonly found in groups near bodies of water. Typically portrayed as gentle giants, capybaras are known to bond with a wide range of animals and display an amicable demeanor. Despite their peaceful reputation,…

    Read more